Oxford United Women extended their unbeaten run at home on Thursday evening as the Yellows obtained a valuable point against league leaders Yeovil Town Ladies.
The hosts raced into a two-goal lead in the first-half courtesy of a brace from Ini Umotong. The 22-year-old tapped home the opener and doubled her tally when she concluded a brilliant solo run with a goal.
Nicola Cousins was able to get one back before half-time as she headed in from a corner before captain Ellie Curson levelled the scoreline when her cross-turned-shot found the back of the net.
Umotong brace gives Oxford lead
The Yellows boast an ineffable record at Northcourt Road during the current campaign. The Women’s Super League Two outfit were unbeaten at home for three league matches going into this meeting and had failed to concede in 278 minutes before this encounter.
Their confidence at their Abingdon ground was epitomised in the opening proceedings as they took the game to the league leaders and Les Taylor’s side subsequently found themselves in front in a matter of minutes when the lethal Iniabasi Umotong netted her seventh league goal of the season. The Nigerian international showcased her pace and power when she latched onto a long ball before poking the ball past the onrushing Charlotte Haynes.
The 22-year-old continued to trouble Yeovil’s usually assured defence throughout the first-half. Umotong effectively cleared the opposition’s defenders single-handedly but her eventual shot was poked wide due to effective pressure deployed by Nicola Cousins. At the other end, Laura Nichol was able to deny Atlanta Primus her third goal of the current campaign when the defender cleared the latter’s header off the line.
Yeovil continued to assert their dominance on the game as the match continued. Top goalscorer Sarah Wiltshire was the first to test Hannah Cox as the England youth international fired her shot towards the side netting but the unsighted goalkeeper produced a brilliant save. The ‘keeper would have been grateful moments later, however, when Primus’ strike from a tight angle fired just wide of the post.
In spite of the away side’s clear advantage in possession, Umotong always proved a threat on the counter-attack. The former Portsmouth star produced yet another solo effort to double her team’s advantage after 25 minutes. Having received the ball just into Yeovil’s half of the pitch, Umotong flicked the ball over Nicola Cousins and nutmegged a further defender before she convincingly dinked the ball into the net.
The Glovers were able to reduce the deficit prior to the interval, though, when Nicola Cousins headed home a disappointing equaliser from Oxford’s point of view. After Cox did superbly to tip a near post header onto her crossbar, her team-mates were unable to clear their lines and Cousins was there to loop her header into the bottom corner.
The underdogs received the better of the chances towards the end of the first-half as Umotong, Holly Pickett and notably Georgia Timms all came close to a third. Wiltshire failed to take the final opportunity of the first 45 minutes as she headed across goal but just wide of the far post. 2-1 at the break.
Yeovil's character on display yet again
Prior to kick-off, Sarah Wiltshire told the club’s official website that her side have “had to show a lot of character”, alluding to Yeovil’s 4-2 victory over Aston Villa Ladies. Their resilience was questioned yet again on Thursday but the visitors were able to provide the answers, equalising fortuitously through captain Ellie Curson’s cross.
Oxford continued to retreat deeper into their own half and relied solely on the counter-attack they had used so effectively in the first-half. This tactic, however, invited pressure upon the defenders and Cox was subject to numerous Yeovil efforts on goal.
Kelly Aldridge raced away from the right-hand side and had her shot, which was arrowing into the top corner, saved by the strong Hannah Cox. The latter was called upon once more, this time producing an outstanding save as she saw the ball cannon off the post and across the line before she darted across to block a shot with her feet.
A significant amount of stoppage time was added on after goalkeeper Haynes received treatment following a collision with Umotong. Charlotte Johnson came on in her place but was not troubled in the remaining minutes in Oxfordshire.
This result sees Oxford remain in eighth place, level on points with Millwall Lionesses, and would walk away proud of their performance against the favourites. Yeovil still sit at the summit of Women's Super League Two having obtained a point with Notts County next on the agenda.